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Last Updated: 2010-01-11

Open Flames - Paint Removal

Permit Holder Guideline #32D

PERMIT TITLE: Open Flames - Paint Removal

CODE SECTION: (Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code) 308.4.1

SCOPE: To use torch or open flame for removing paint from a structure.

FEE: $40.00 (Check payable to the City of Richmond)

PERMIT EXPIRATION: Operational or Annual- ONE (1) year from date issued. Building's owner to perform work on their own property. All contractors performing work within city limits. Permit holder shall be the operator of permitted operation or on site during the duration of the operation.

REQUIREMENTS: Permit holder agrees to abide by the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code and any special stipulations noted on permit, as well as the following:

  1. Torch or open flame may only be used on exterior surfaces. Operations will cease when wind speeds rise to over 10 miles per hour.
  2. A water hose shall be in place and ready for use within 5 feet of the torch operator. (If there is no water source available, the operator shall have at least one 4A rated, or two 2A rated portable fire extinguishers on site and ready for operation.)
  3. The contractor shall instruct all operators on the safe and efficient use of the particular device being used along with the risks associated with this type of operation (specifically the possibility of hidden fires in combustible structures). This instruction shall include, but not be limited to, the exact operation of the particular device and its' limitations and safety features. Additionally the contractor shall instruct the operator on telltale signs of hidden fires in structures and how to interrupt their progression. All of this instruction shall be documented and maintained in possession of the contractor for review.
  4. The contractor / operator shall inspect and discuss all safety concerns with the building’s owner and tenant. This discussion shall include all proper safety procedures currently in place, all risks relative to this type of operation and all details pertaining to the emergency action plan in place for the particular operation, including, but not limited to, the means to promptly report unwanted fires to 911 along with the exact conditions and situation (including address, injuries, or special circumstances). This requirement shall mandate that either a hard wired telephone line and/or a fully charged and operable cellular telephone be on site and readily accessible to both the operator(s) and/or the owners / tenants.
  5. All permit holders shall have on file with the Fire Marshal's office a copy of their current liability insurance policy (required to be at least twice the value of the building and not less than $1,000,000) along with a copy of all related safety procedures. Said insurance policy shall confirm coverage for paint burning operations on structures.
  6. A copy of this permit shall be at the job site at all times during the operation and available for official review.
  7. The operator / Contractor shall provide a firewatch during the entirety of the operation and extending for 2 hours after open flame operations have concluded. This firewatch shall include monitoring of the interior and / or other connected areas affected by the paint burning operation. A battery-powered smoke detector must be provided for 24 hours subsequent to the operation in all occupied buildings.

The public health official shall be contacted prior to commencement of the operation if there is any possibility the structure contains lead-based paint. In the event that lead based paint is present additional regulations may apply.


Any violation of these guidelines; the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code; or occurrence of fire damage as a result of paint burning operations shall result in permit suspension. After suspension of the applicants permit and appropriate improvements said applicant may apply for a conditional permit from the Fire Marshal's Office after a 6 month period. If a conditional permit is issued it would directly address the applicant's deficiencies and require the appropriate corrections. These corrections shall include the hiring of an off duty fire official to be on site during all of the applicants subsequent paint burning operations to supervise these operations. Said fire official shall be hired at the current off duty pay rate (currently $27.00 per hour / 4 hour minimum) and shall be paid at conclusion of the operation by the applicant.


A second violation of the above listed codes shall result in a permanent revocation of the applicants permit.


Contact Information:

Fire Department
City of Richmond
201 E. Franklin St.
Richmond, VA
23219 USA
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Phone: (804)646-2500

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